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By gasman
Some of you may have seen my rather pathetic skirting round the subject in the matter of infill planes. I have refurbished a couple but the time has come to start making something from scratch. Despite reading many of the excellent threads on this subject, I was intimidated by just buying some steel plate and starting from zero.
I therefore have been following for some while the St James Bay Tool Company which has a rather sparse website but which periodically advertises their kits on eBay like this current one
After a lot of faffing around I ended up buying this one
I have had it for a month but over the weekend felt the time was right to start...
The kit comes well packaged and consists of the following

In addition there is a CD containing about 100 images like this one showing you, sort of, how it should be done which are very helpful

The base is 6mm thick and seems quite accurately machined - it was 63.3mm wide along the entire length measured from the bottom of each dovetail as it were
I started by cutting a piece of old beech worktop so it was 63.3mm wide and clamping this to the base

The sides (4mm thick) came with tails already part cut - except they needed a bit more filing down to get the angle of the dovetail. I apologise for failing to take photos of me scoring the sides, filing down etc


Next was the bit that goes behind the mouth - this had to be drilled but they provided 4.5 mm rod in short lengths for this to be attached

My first bit of peining, ever - quite enjoyable I thought



So I ended up at the end of the weekend with this. I am so looking forward to this - going to be an overstuffed infill either in oak burr or walnut or mahogany - haven't decided yet
Comments, criticism and advice very welcome
By gasman
By the way I meant to say the price I paid for it. At the time of buying I think it was £97 plus £15 postage - and then I paid customs duties, VAT etc of £26 in total.
Time will tell but I think that might be a bargain
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By AndyT
I'm unlikely to embark on anything as ambitious as this but will be watching with interest, so thanks for taking the time to take photos and write it all up.
Once again I am filled with admiration for the past makers who were good and quick enough to make a living doing this sort of work.
By gasman
I should qualify my comment about it being a bargain - by that I mean that I will have had a real hands on lesson in metalworking and plane construction at the end of this plus I will (might!) have a nice plan to use as well.
Cheers Mark
By gasman
Yes I agree I don't know how he makes any money. This kit is perfect for me to learn some new tricks so that, just maybe, I might make one from scratch in due course. Thanks to all for the interest and thanks Pete for the info on DCs book. Is it in David Charlesworth's Furniture-making Techniques: v. 1? Must try and find a copy
Cheers Mark
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By rxh
Mr_P has kindly drawn my attention to this thread and I'll be following it with keen interest. I expect you have discovered the various threads on infill making in the Hand Tools section. I have made several metal bodied planes and I'd be glad to try and answer any questions that you may have. However, I have no experience of "overstuffing" - but I know a man who has :)
By gasman
Thanks Pete - DCs book ordered from Amazon as you suggested - should be good
Thank you everyone for comments and support. I have looked at many of the infill plane threads on here which are inspiring. Next instalment this weekend. Minor blip this week caused by outflow pipe in bathroom blocking leading to entire contents of bath being discharged on to lounge carpet and furniture in room below. Very soggy room :(
Cheers Mark
By gasman
Slow but reasonable progress - I only had an hour or so yesterday due to big family gatherings etc
I used the mill in anger for the first time. With the benefit of hindsight I think getting an old scrap and playing around for a bit would have been good - but using the cutting fluid and going slowly nibbling a bit at a time. My son is an engineering apprentice and when he came round later yesterday he thought it hilarious that his old dad was learning something he is already good at

You can see I had to use an old record vice and spent ages using one of those digital angle boxes to get the thing correctly aligned in 3 D relative to the cutter before starting - all because the vice I got with the mill will only accept 62mm wide. I can already see I have a shopping list as long as my arm for this metalworking caper (yes I know you told me so Jimi)


Anyway I got there in the end
And ended up with the mouth of the plane looking like this - which after tidying up I think will be fine
2015-04-04 06.51.39.jpg
By gasman
Good progress today. After faffing around and wondering if I should drill the holes to mount the lever cap (I decided not to at this stage), I got on with the peining. Clamped up the base and sides with the piece of beech kitchen top to maintain the shape and started - cautiously - but it went well, I thought and seemed to make rapid progress
2015-04-05 11.16.24.jpg

Took less than an hour to get to this stage
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Then started filing down the base which was quite quick and there weren't any 'holes' although a couple of dinks
2015-04-05 15.06.46.jpg

After filing off I used 60G paper mounted on MDF and carried on like that for a while.
2015-04-05 16.07.16.jpg

2015-04-05 16.04.04.jpg

Ended up with this - you can just about see the dovetails but no holes I can see. There is still work to do and some dinks to work out but it is a reasonable start
2015-04-05 16.04.14.jpg

I made another beech piece to mock up the rear infill
2015-04-05 16.07.47.jpg

and here it is with the blade roughly put in place. I can see a small light at the end of the tunnel. This is, honestly, one of the most enjoyable projects I have done in ages
All comments criticism and advice welcome. Thanks